11.050 - Detainee Property

Effective Date: 05/07/2019


This policy applies to employees who handle detainee property incident to arrest.

1. Officers Secure Detainee Property

Officers will store detainee property in a secured area when practical.

See 11.050-PRO-1 Securing and Transporting Detainee Property

2. Officers Record Detainee Property and its Disposition by Either Photographing the Property and Using the Detainee Property Form (form 26.4) or by Using Body Worn Video (BWV)

A second officer will witness the inventory. The witness officer’s name is recorded on the Detainee Property Form or BWV, as applicable.  Also see: 16.090-In-Car and Body-Worn Video.

Officers will not document submitted evidence on the Detainee Property Form; submitted evidence is documented on the Report. See 7.010-Submitting Evidence.

Officers may use discretion when listing items on the Detainee Property Form.

- For example: It is acceptable to inventory and photograph a bag of clothing and sundries and then list “miscellaneous personal items” on the form.

3. The Department Retains Some Non-Evidentiary Property

Detainee property that is not accepted by the detention facility is submitted to the Evidence Unit as Safekeeping Only (SKO).

Officers place the following detainee property into SKO:

- Helmets

- Briefcases, suitcases and backpacks

- Officers inventory contents before submitting as SKO

- Laptop computers

- Extra sets of clothing

- Pepper spray

- Firearms (See: POL-10)

- Alcoholic beverages

- Cigarettes, disposable lighters or matches

See: 11.050-TSK-1 Officer Submitting Detainee Property to the Evidence Unit as SKO

4. Officers Perform an Inventory Search of SKO Detainee Property Before Submitting it to the Evidence Unit

5. Officers Discard Perishable Property

Officers will record perishable items using BWV or itemize perishable items on the Detainee Inventory Sheet and then discard the items.

Note: Officers may photograph items before they are discarded.

6. Officers May Screen SKO Items With the Evidence Unit

Officers may contact the Evidence Unit directly or through Communications with questions about SKO that may present a bio-hazard.

Note: Officers place SKO items into the red bio-hazard bags that may present a health risk (e.g., lice, blood or other bio-hazard).

7. Legally Possessed Marijuana Accompanies the Detainee to Jail

Officers package marijuana in a separate container marked as marijuana and then place it with the detainee’s other items going to the detention facility.

8. Evidence Unit Personnel Contacts the Submitting Officer in Some Cases

The Evidence Unit will contact the officer if a backpack or other personal item arrives for SKO at the Evidence Unit with marijuana or money still inside

Officers will respond to the Evidence Unit and properly package the items in Narcotics or Currency envelopes before the end of their shift.

- Officers will complete a Property Release Supplement for legal marijuana at the same time they resubmit it, releasing it to the owner if it is legal to possess.

- A Property Release Supplement is not necessary for SKO Currency envelopes.

See Seattle Police Manual Section 6.181-Performing Inventory Searches.

9. Officers Submit Marijuana as Evidence When the Possession is Illegal or Evidence of a Crime

Officers will submit all marijuana in the detainee’s possession to the Evidence Unit if the detainee is under the age of twenty-one or the quantity exceeds:

- One ounce of usable marijuana,

- Sixteen ounces of marijuana-infused product in solid form,

- Seventy-two ounces of marijuana-infused product in liquid form.

If a person is under arrest for DUI and in possession of a legal amount of marijuana, officers will submit the marijuana as evidence. This applies whether the person is booked for DUI or Investigated and Released (I&R).

10. Detainees May Keep Legal Amounts of Marijuana When I&R’d

Except in the cases mentioned above, if the person under arrest has a legal amount of marijuana, and the officer chooses not to book the person into jail, the marijuana stays with the personal property that the arrestee keeps upon release.

11. Officers Submit SKO Firearms as Evidence

The Evidence Unit will process SKO firearms as an item of evidence. Officers will complete a Property Release Supplement releasing the firearm to the owner at the time the firearm is submitted.

- The Evidence Unit (through the Public Request Unit) will complete a background check prior to releasing firearms.

- Exception: When the firearm is released to another Law Enforcement Agency, any background check that is performed is done at the discretion of the outside agency.

- Officers will inform the property owner to contact the Evidence Unit prior to showing up so that background information can be obtained.

- The background check takes 3-5 business days.

- Once the owner is notified, they have 5 business days to pick up the firearm or the background process must start over.

11.050-PRO-1 Securing and Transporting Detainee Property

Arresting/Searching Officer

1a. Captures a digital image of the detainee’s property and loads the image into DEMS and records the detainee’s property and its disposition on the Detainee Property Form (form 26.4)


1b. Captures the detainee’s property using the BWV system.

2a. If the detainee’s property is photographed and the Detainee Property form is used:

- Reviews the form with the detainee and distributes the completed copies.

- Original (white)-submitted to Data

- Copy (yellow)-detainee’s copy

- Places the yellow copy of the Detainee Property Form with the detainee’s property.

2b. If the detainee property is recorded using the BWV:

Gives a verbal narrative to include:

- The name of the officer conducting the inventory and the name of the witness officer,

- The name of the detainee

- A description of each item inventoried

- If the item is going anyplace other than the detention facility, indicate the disposition as follows:

- SKO (Safekeeping Only)

- Discard Perishable

- Other disposition (specify)

3. Secures detainee property in a locker when practical.

4. Informs the transport officer if applicable, that the detainee has property.

Transport Officer

5. Secures the detainee property during transport.

6. Submits the detainee property to the detention facility.

11.050-TSK-1 Officer Submitting Detainee Property to the Evidence Unit as SKO

Officers submitting detainee property to the Evidence Unit as SKO will:

1. Inventory the detainee’s property with a witness officer present.

2. Complete a SKO Tag (form 12.8) for items going to the Evidence Unit. Each box, bag or backpack requires a separate SKO tag.

3. Detach the top copy of the SKO Tag and gives it to the detainee.

4. Complete a Property Report listing SKO items.

5. Place a barcode evidence label on the back of the second copy of the SKO Tag.

6. Attach the second copy of the SKO Tag to the SKO item and submit the item to the Evidence Unit.



Adrian Diaz, Chief of Police
Address: 610 5th Avenue, Seattle, WA, 98104-1900
Mailing Address: PO Box 34986, Seattle, WA, 98124-4986
Phone: (206) 625-5011
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